Risca to a regular cyclo-crosser is synonymous with rain - last year it delayed play at the Ryder Cup just up the road. But this year it was sun-screen and shades as the sun shone and the temperature climbed.
Another bumper entry of U10s kicked off the day's racing on dew-soaked grass. Overcoming a back row gridding on the first lap, newcomer Guto Dafydd (Towy Riders) was soon building a commanding lead ahead of club-mate Emma Finucane, who in turn was pulling away from a chasing group of five. Guto romped home to victory ahead of Emma, with the remnants of the chasing group being led in by Maindy Flyer Bevan Smith and, impressively, including U8 Ashley Cole (Abergavenny RC). Evelyn Higgins-Worrall was 1st U8 Girl.
Megan James (Abergavenny RC) was to the fore once again in the U12 race but had to work hard to hold off the chasing trio of club-mates Joe Beckingsale and Huw Higgins-Worrall and Towy Rider Owain Roberts. Each of the three took a turn on the front and the gap looked to be coming down but a final effort by Megan, that saw Huw dropped, was rewarded with a second consecutive victory.
Bynea CC U16 Joe Holt held a race-long lead in the Youth race to win by 16 seconds from Ben Dunster (Brecon Wheelers). It was only Dunster and Nicholas Jones from Towy Riders CC who could stay with Holt as the chasing group fragmented midway through the race. Ffion James (Abergavenny RC) was 1st U16 Girl. Tomos Owens (Brooks Cycles) dominated the U14 field, finishing 5th with a lead of a minute, and Bethan Manley (Newport Velo) was 1st U14 girl.
For many, mindful of the heat and the heavy Risca course, the main race of the day started at a sedate pace. Even at the front of the field no-one was in a hurry to go off the front ... until lap 3 when the promoting club's Andrew Baum upped the pace, taking Junior Matthew Thompson (Cardiff JIF) with him. Joe Lally (CC Abergavenny) gave chase with Veteran Mark James (MI Racing) and Junior Adam King (Cardiff JIF) but was left in no man's land as his two companions dropped back to begin a race-long tussle. Thompson held Baum's wheel for much of the race but finally succumbed to the effort, leaving Baum to solo to an emphatic victory. Thompson was nearly caught by Lally as the two finished just under a minute down on Baum. James may have lost out to King but was a comfortable winner ahead of Rugby Velo's Philip Roach in the Veterans' race, and Stephanie Best (Abergavenny RC) rode strongly to take her first Welsh League win in the Women's race.
See photos of the main race courtesy of Roy Bevis on flickr >>